It’s that time of year again in my area of the world – time to wrap up one homeschooling year and get planning for fall! Are you planning as well?
I always like to take stock as to what worked well this year, how was our consistency, where are our skills- academically, socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. All these areas matter in homeschooling because our homeschooling reflects our family life!
I have homeschooled two of our children through to graduation, although for high school we did use either a combination of outside classes with homeschooling at home or a hybrid school. Our youngest is now coming up to eighth grade, so high school is on my mind again! So, I guess a good question to ask yourself for the coming year is – are my children getting what they need so they can be functional adults? Is homeschooling meeting that goal or do they need something different? What are my options?
If homeschooling is the right option, then I love to look at website of Waldorf schools around the world to see what they bring for the grade you will be teaching and find the “hallmark” blocks. These blocks, to me, are the ones that match the soul development of the child, such as the Man and Animal Block in fourth grade, or Rome in sixth grade. If you feel you are short on time, those are the blocks you want to make sure you tackle! I like to plan a monthly seasonal calendar and also a weekly and daily rhythm for consistency and nourishment of the family.
Then I like to match resources to my block. Typically, I would go to the library and get out all the books on that block and sort of synthesize those into a block plan and then scan the Internet for artistic images I wanted to work off of. I realize this is a lot of work, but it’s the only way things are super personalized to your child. If not, there are premade curriculums that you can use and jump off of. I have used bits and pieces of both Live Education and Christopherus in the past.
I also really like to get a good stock as to what our children need to do socially as they age (past 9 year change) in order to stretch themselves in building character, in building community, in building themselves spiritually as these areas often take other people to help expand these areas. I think it is really important as children age into high school that they have at least a small peer group as the right group can be very helpful in their striving toward adulthood, and some areas of passion and purpose.
How are you planning your homeschool year?
Ah for the first time ever I won’t be homeschooling! My senior is mostly full-time enrolled / dual enrolled, and my 8th grader is planning on full-time public school, for sports, but also he is such a social kid, and he wants/needs to spread his wings. It will be my last year in grad school and looking ahead. Bittersweet for sure. I have loved homeschooling but high school threw a lot of curve balls we weren’t prepared for, and we’re grateful for the good public options we have. I’ll still follow your wise and gentle columns though!
Vintagejfiction – That is so exciting! It is bittersweet, but part of our job is having our children grow towards being functional adults and you have done that! I agree high school throws a lot of curve balls in trying to homeschool, even if just from the very small group/social end that tends to occur at a time when teenagers really would like friends. Congratulations, and how exciting about your new chapter ahead! Many blessings to you and your family, Carrie